By Joanna Ninh
The purpose of this tour was to determine whether or not the activities of the Toronto One Day Tour are appropriate for Sheridan Tours, who are thinking of investing in quality tours. I have been selected to research and report back on a new area for potential emerging markets. My task is to explore the St. Lawrence Market and Distillery District in downtown Toronto. I have been invited to visit the PANAM 2015 Games office, where I will be listening in on a presentation which offers diverse cuisines and historical walking tours guided by professional tour guide speaker, Bruce Bell.
Before settlement Toronto was crucial for its series of trails and water routes. Today buildings, pavements and roads cover what used to be waterways. The great body of water is what brought settlement together and the buildings and condos by the lake are what have been developed over the years. Historian Bruce Bell, spoke about the settlement of Toronto and stopped at important sights where every street had significant value, such as Old Town Toronto on George Street founded in 1793.
Toronto’s infrastructure is always being improved, replaced and expanded to keep up with the needs of Torontonians. Support in the tourism area is greatly looked after by the continuing maintenance work to uphold the reputation to help bring in more tourists. The better the infrastructure of the city is maintained, the higher the probability of locals will contribute to help keep the area clean. It helps to benefit the economic, environment, and the social of the tourism in the area, which in return helps the locals.
The superstructure I found during the walking tour was very interesting. The first stop was the St. Lawrence Market which was open to public access. The markets are also home to the first City Hall of Toronto which is now renovated into a museum. The Historical walk was my preferred part of the entire day tour especially after learning about how Toronto was once covered with black smoke because of the use of coal in chimneys. This was later banned because of the negative effects it had on the environment. What stood out to me was when Bruce Bell spoke about how the black bricks we saw around the buildings found at the destinations were the result of the black coal stains. The final stop was at the Distillery District. We were able to have a very quick history lesson about the prohibition and a very infamous character that visited Toronto. The notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone visited the Toronto Distillery District and ordered liquor to be made and shipped. Our tour guide pointed out the exact location where Al Capone’s liquor was once stored.
Our last stop of the day was at the Corus Entertainment building (the headquarters of the PANAM 2015 Games office), located by the waterfront. We had a brief tour of the building where we learned that it is a Canadian based media and an entertainment company, home to television and radio stations. From our observation the building promotes “green” efficiency all around its facilities, such as initiative features including energy efficient lighting, a living five stored bio-wall for clean oxygen, use of local and recycled materials and reused rain water to reduce water consumption amongst other initiatives. We later gathered in the presentation room, where amongst us were the organizers of the PANAM 2015 Games. The speakers spoke of volunteer opportunities, employment and Toronto outbound tourism.
Our walking tour guide, Bruce Bell was very welcoming and perky so much so that our large group didn’t want to split up into two groups. He was very engaging and spoke with passion during the entire tour and made the experience even more enjoyable. Not only was he a professional tour guide but, a historian and an author. The employees of the PANAM were very friendly and prompt. They welcomed all questions and gave promotional wrist bands that had ‘PANAM 2015 Games’ written on it. I enjoyed how they started the presentation with an activity warm up, where an audience member got a prize.
The value of the tour was very reasonable, considering the cost of the luxury coach bus and the walking tour for such a large group. I especially liked how the tour consisted of going out for lunch instead of prepaid lunch menu; we were able to pick what we wanted instead. This was a great opportunity considering the St. Lawrence Market had a variety of choice to select from. The tour group was able to go out and enjoy what they wanted at a very good lengthy time. Overall my only suggestion is that instead of finishing the walking tour at the Distillery District, somewhere closer to the St. Lawrence Market would be a better choice. My final thought of the Toronto One Day Tour is it would be a great investment for Sheridan Tours because of the unknown history that few people know about Toronto.